Food at BM?

What do you eat and drink on the playa? Share ideas, recipes and advice here.

Food at BM?

Postby gypsyheart » Sat Jul 23, 2011 8:25 pm

Hi everyone!

This (2011) will be my first year at BM and also my first time camping in the desert. I've read most of the Q&A's as well as the first timers guide and have compiled a list of things i'll need out there. When it comes to food though, I'm drawing blanks. I've bought some stuff like canned beans, vienna sausages, fruit cups, beef jerky, that sort of things. I'd love to know what all the BM Vets out there suggest as good food essentials and any cooking tips :)
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Re: Food at BM?

Postby Savannah » Sat Jul 23, 2011 8:36 pm

I don't like to cook out there, so these are 2 threads I like. I posted pretty much my entire meal plan in there somewhere.

Realistic non-cooler based menu planning
viewtopic.php?t=35430

Playa Food for the Extremely Lazy
viewtopic.php?t=35723

Find more by entering food eplaya or other keywords into google. I usually skip the site search feature. :)

Hormel Compleats or Bumble Bee tuna salad + crackers make nice portable meals for when you're venturing out. I recommend at least a snack in your backpack, maybe two so you can feed a hungry friend, plus a stainless canteen, and--so you can accept meals from others: plastic or steel utensils, and a camping cup.
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Re: Food at BM?

Postby trilobyte » Sat Jul 23, 2011 8:42 pm

It can vary widely - some folks go with the barest of essentials (military rations, simple canned goods, etc), while others go the other route and become playa foodies. In my years, I've seen every kind of luxurious food being brought out, prepared, and served on the playa. Steaks, seafood (including sushi), fresh vegetables, and even ice cream. It's all about the planning, since you have to bring absolutely everything with you.

You didn't mention whether you were camping with others, or if any of the others that might be with you were veterans. If it's just you, or all first timers, my recommendation is to stick to the basics. Keep it as simple as possible, you just worry about getting out to Black Rock and back. If you've got a group with some experienced hands, then your camp should decide what level of decadence and deliciousness you want to bring and prepare. Read through these boards, you'll find that there are PLENTY of message threads about all kinds of food and drink, there are some awesome ideas on these boards, and great ideas on how to figure out how to make and bring nearly anything you could imagine. If you've got a specific idea for some kind of food that you don't see discussed, ask.

Good luck, and hope to see you out there!
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Re: Food at BM?

Postby Trishntek » Sun Jul 24, 2011 12:09 am

The only thing I can think of which adds anything to the above advise would be to stay away from foods which leave peels, cores and rinds for garbage. They generally do not last long without proper refrigeration and the leavings stink pretty bad, especially when you haul them back to civilization with the rest of your garbage.
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Re: Food at BM?

Postby Elderberry » Sun Jul 24, 2011 7:43 am

In the event you do bring items with peels, rinds and cores, dry them out in the sun before throwing them away.

And if you enjoy cooking, you don't have to limit yourself to canned rations. Some camps bring complete kitchens. Eating can be as simple or as extravagant as you like it.
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Re: Food at BM?

Postby CapSmashy » Sun Jul 24, 2011 8:36 am

If you are not used to camping and cooking, it can be a bit daunting. Fast and easy food are the Mountain House dehydrated meals for backpackers. You can get them just about anywhere now, including Wal Mart, although their selection is limited. A good sporting goods store with a big camping section should have most of their menu including breakfast stuff. I can not vouch for their breakfast selections, but their lunch/dinner entrees are good. Boil some water, pour it in, wait 5 minutes and you have a hot delicious meal. Go buy a couple and give them a try at home.

Other suggestions:
Canned foods: Beef stew, hearty soups, raviolis, tuna, salmon, roast beef, chicken, veggies. If you are solo camping, get the small, pop top cans.

The tuna and chicken salad snacker kits are pretty awesome and fast to make. Open up the packages at home and you can usually pack several of the kits into a single ziplock bag to cut down on packaging material.

Prepackaged stuff: Precooked bacon. Rice and noodle mixes of every flavor of the world. These are usually heat and eat kind of dishes. They are typically high in sodium, but if you are hydrating and active, you'll sweat most of that out. Instant mash potatoes, just add water and poof, mashed tater goodness. Also available in numerous styles from plain to loaded baked potato.

Snack packs of nuts, almonds, peanuts, dried fruits, beef jerky, precooked bacon, etc.

Breakfast foods: Instant oatmeal mixes, precooked bacon, if you have a cooler, eggbeaters, double bagged in the cooler work well.

Spices: pepper blends, garlic, herbs, etc. If you are doing a lot of canned and prepackaged foods, you will not need to add any salt to them.


With this being your first year, you will want to have fast and easy to prepare meal items. I went for hours running around seeing stuff and having fun and the "Oh shit, I'm fucking hungry" would be damn near overpowering when it hit.

And remember, if it tastes okay at home, it will taste like Alton Brown showed up and cooked you dinner out in the desert.

For your kitchen set up:
A single burner propane stove. For about $20, you can get the kind that has a burner and a base and you simply screw the burner directly onto one of the 1 pound cylinders and put it in the base. Very stable and reasonably efficient. Bring enough camping propane cylinders to plan on changing it out every other day even though you will never use this much. Extra is better, running out is bad.

A 2 qt nonstick saucepan with a lid, an 8 or 10 inch nonstick skillet with a lid. A measuring cup for water. A couple of serving spoons and a spatula. A can opener. Quart sized ziplocks. A couple of rolls of paper towels.

If you are a coffee drinker, you can go instant (I recommend Maxim brand from Korea over stuff like folgers) or get a mug topper, one cup coffee maker that uses filters and ground coffee or a french press. French press can be messy to clean though.


When making a meal, think about the ingredients you like. Taking a package of Zataran's premade jambalaya rice and dumping in a can of chicken or tuna and a can of mixed veggies makes a hearty meal that is ready in about 5 minutes. Eat it straight out of the pan. A package of instant mashed potatoes and a can of roast beef mixed together.

If you are going to have a cooler, bring a box of one gallon ziplock bags. When you get back from your ice run, separate the bags of ice into the ziplock bags and put them in the cooler zipper side up. This keeps your ice melt clean and your cooler from turning into a soupy mess by the end of the week. Save a few of your water jugs for pouring off the ice melt from the ziplock bags. Use this for cooking, clean up, bathing etc.

For clean up in the pans and cooking implements, wipe off remaining food residues (use quart bags for leftovers in the cooler and you can reheat later), add water tot eh pan you used, bring it to a boil and stick your spoon or spatula in the boiling water to sterilize it.
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Re: Food at BM?

Postby Elderberry » Sun Jul 24, 2011 8:44 am

Good post CS
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Re: Food at BM?

Postby Sail Man » Sun Jul 24, 2011 9:09 am

If your car camping (tent, etc) avoid breads and buns in plastic bags as they go bad quickly (condensation issues) and stick with canned breads, for exp: http://www.amazon.com/Brown-Bread-Raisins-16-Ounce-Cans/dp/B001EO5Y8E

Other opinions probably abound but this has been my experience.
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Re: Food at BM?

Postby some seeing eye » Sun Jul 24, 2011 9:40 am

I always find my appetite is mysteriously and radically reduced at BM. But it's nice to have foodstuffs you crave. And there is value in the peace of mind that comes from packing the food you think you will need, even if you take it home or donate it after. If you are in a camp, shared meals and collaboration can and has been a cool pleasure.

You might think about what motivates your eating, then plan around that.

There are many on-playa gifted eating opportunities that require research and especially on-playa meeting people and asking around. The playa gifted eating meetups are gifts in themselves. Carry plates and utensils in your backpack. (I carry a dirty and a clean large ziplock, with plate, bowl, chopsticks, mug, knife/fork/spoon, and moistwipes) Having some extra spirits can also contribute to the mix, and I have.
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Re: Food at BM?

Postby CapSmashy » Sun Jul 24, 2011 11:42 am

Sail Man wrote:If your car camping (tent, etc) avoid breads and buns in plastic bags as they go bad quickly (condensation issues) and stick with canned breads, for exp: http://www.amazon.com/Brown-Bread-Raisins-16-Ounce-Cans/dp/B001EO5Y8E

Other opinions probably abound but this has been my experience.


Flour tortillas do very well.
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Re: Food at BM?

Postby MyDearFriend » Sun Jul 24, 2011 12:41 pm

CapSmashy wrote:
Flour tortillas do very well.


Oh what an excellent suggestion, thank you; I have made a note. 8)
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Re: Food at BM?

Postby phil » Sun Jul 24, 2011 1:10 pm

If you've camped and cooked before, most of your experience still applies. You may find the noon meal harder if the heat is bad - your strength may be sapped. Louise and I have a Web page for meals with little or no cooking:
http://www.cieux.com/bm/quickMeals.html
I suggest trying stuff out before hand to see if you like it or hate it.

Chef Juke let us post his tips on food storage if you bring fresh food onto the playa:
http://www.cieux.com/bm/foodPlaya.html

Louise and I bring enough fresh food for a couple of days, then switch to canned food. We're pretty organized because we've found from experience that disorganization leads to playa drama when we're trying to fix a meal. We have a list of all proposed meals and the day each is to be eaten. We don't follow that religiously, but it helps keep us from having to think if we're so hot and tired we can't think straight.

We also bag each entire meal. We keep newspaper plastic bags, and put the contents of each meal and the recipe and cooking instructions in the bag. Any fresh stuff is noted and put in the ice chest. We label each bag with the name in our list of all meals. This means we don't have to go through a big box of cans looking for the green beans, then looking for the 8.5 oz. can of chicken (not the 5 oz can of chicken), then looking for whatever else. We just look at the labels on the bags and find "Jerusalem Chicken" and everything's in the bag.

This makes cooking fairly easy. Just crank up the camp stove, get out the pan, dump stuff in it, and a meal is ready in some minutes.

My basic suggestion is to try out simple recipes at home. If you like something, bring that for a meal on the playa. If the recipe calls for grilled chicken breasts, we bring canned chicken. If the recipe calls for baked ham, we bring canned ham. Saves cooking time, since the chicken is already cooked. Nothing needs refrigeration. We bring our own ice in big bottles and don't buy any from the store, which also saves time since we don't stand in line.
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Re: Food at BM?

Postby StevenGoodman » Sun Jul 24, 2011 1:58 pm

One thing that is often missed. Don't plan on bring and eating food that you wouldn't eat at home. You aren't going to decide to heat up some weird meal you brought that you would never eat at home. I don't eat tral mix at home, why would I on the playa?

Figure out what you normally eat and then cut it down to basics. If you eat sandwiches bring lunch meat, cheese, etc. But expect the bread will dry out after a couple of days and plan to use tortillas instead. And eat the tomatoes first!

And you will eat WAY less on the playa than you do at home. But you do need to eat.

Actually, it is more important to keep up your vitamin intake and staying hydrated. I try to drink a big glass of OJ (or other source of vitamins) every day. Plus water, etc.

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Re: Food at BM?

Postby MoonSplash » Sun Jul 24, 2011 3:04 pm

I brought one of those propane 1 burner stoves. Awesome and easy - use an emptied out cardboard box as a windbreak (placed on its side). I bring one small fry pan and a kettle.

I got smart and decided to just order a bunch of meals from different restaurants the week prior, and froze them: prime rib, steak kabobs, grilled salmon, etc. along with the rice , mashed potatoes or steamed veg the dishes came with. Portioned them out in smaller zip locks and once on the playa, I pulled them out in the morning and meals were ready to reheat quickly later for lunch or dinners. Also I indulge in buying a bucket of KFC the day before - after spending couple of hours setting up camp on day 1, fried chicken is heavenly.

Breakfasts: frozen pancakes / waffles thawed with precooked bacon or pop tarts.

Snacks: clementines, fruit cups, choc pudding, hummus, baby bel or hard cheeses / crackers, smoked oysters.

Special treats: thawed package of jumbo cooked & peeled shrimp with lemony cocktail sauce.

The above leaves very little MOOP and makes for super easy cleanup.
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Re: Food at BM?

Postby unjonharley » Sun Jul 24, 2011 3:05 pm

\
Let us not forget the great Peanut Butter sandwich.. Playa time slips away and you need to eat.

I can not have peanuts so I have sunflower seed butter on heavy dark bread..
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Re: Food at BM?

Postby MoonSplash » Sun Jul 24, 2011 3:13 pm

To clarify, my strategy is less cooking, more of reheating. You know not to bring raw meats, right? Rotting meat juices in the desert = unhappy Burners and neighbors.

My first year I brought a bunch of Tasty Bites and never ate them. So as others said, bring what you know and like. I eat less on the playa but I eat well.

For drinks: lots of canned coconut juices (cheaper at Asian stores), mango juices for potassium, and my favorite drinks - canned Thai iced teas or coffees. Cans can be crushed and recycled at Center Camp - less MOOP to bring back!
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Re: Food at BM?

Postby CapSmashy » Sun Jul 24, 2011 7:30 pm

MoonSplash wrote:To clarify, my strategy is less cooking, more of reheating. You know not to bring raw meats, right? Rotting meat juices in the desert = unhappy Burners and neighbors.

My first year I brought a bunch of Tasty Bites and never ate them. So as others said, bring what you know and like. I eat less on the playa but I eat well.

For drinks: lots of canned coconut juices (cheaper at Asian stores), mango juices for potassium, and my favorite drinks - canned Thai iced teas or coffees. Cans can be crushed and recycled at Center Camp - less MOOP to bring back!


Raw meats are fine provided you package it properly, keep it cold/frozen and maintain strict cooler and food handling discipline.
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Re: Food at BM?

Postby Savannah » Sun Jul 24, 2011 8:03 pm

One thing that helps keep bread from molding (the condensation is crazy) is to open it up and air it out a bit every day, as odd as this can feel. Point the bag north when you do this. :lol: And don't store it in the tent or car . . . but somewhere in the shade. Some folks keep it in the cooler, but you've got to keep it out of the water, which I don't enjoy trying to ensure.

Then, eat some every day the first 4-5 days in case worse comes to worse and it doesn't last; you then have other things.
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Re: Food at BM?

Postby junglesmacks » Mon Jul 25, 2011 7:22 am

Sail Man wrote:If your car camping (tent, etc) avoid breads and buns in plastic bags as they go bad quickly (condensation issues) and stick with canned breads, for exp: http://www.amazon.com/Brown-Bread-Raisins-16-Ounce-Cans/dp/B001EO5Y8E

Other opinions probably abound but this has been my experience.


Bagels, though, do extremely well. Mine lasted the whole week without a problem.
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Re: Food at BM?

Postby Sail Man » Mon Jul 25, 2011 9:24 am

CapSmashy wrote:
Sail Man wrote:If your car camping (tent, etc) avoid breads and buns in plastic bags as they go bad quickly (condensation issues) and stick with canned breads, for exp: http://www.amazon.com/Brown-Bread-Raisins-16-Ounce-Cans/dp/B001EO5Y8E

Other opinions probably abound but this has been my experience.


Flour tortillas do very well.



Yes they do and have been enjoyed by many including myself :D

Hmmmm, hot dog wrapped in a tortilla...............go with the visual :wink:

Hey trishntek, I think I found you another camp food to gift!

:mrgreen:
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Re: Food at BM?

Postby Sail Man » Mon Jul 25, 2011 9:37 am

CapSmashy wrote:
MoonSplash wrote:To clarify, my strategy is less cooking, more of reheating. You know not to bring raw meats, right? Rotting meat juices in the desert = unhappy Burners and neighbors.

My first year I brought a bunch of Tasty Bites and never ate them. So as others said, bring what you know and like. I eat less on the playa but I eat well.

For drinks: lots of canned coconut juices (cheaper at Asian stores), mango juices for potassium, and my favorite drinks - canned Thai iced teas or coffees. Cans can be crushed and recycled at Center Camp - less MOOP to bring back!


Raw meats are fine provided you package it properly, keep it cold/frozen and maintain strict cooler and food handling discipline.


I use the wireless thermometers and ziploc bag the sending unit and tape to the inside upper lid of the cooler and use the receiver to monitor my coolers temp. Many people use dry ice, I freeze 1 gallon bottles of water at home and they help to keep the cooler heh heh heh, cooler :mrgreen: and even driving from Michigan will last most of the burn. I also use my food saver to seal all of my meats. And speaking of meats, I am anxiously awaiting what will be the meat of choice for the Meat and Greet :wink: as my concierge travels to my local exotic meat emporium in search of ???

ground bear for yogi bear balls with boo boo sauce? :D
the larger but equally as tasty rocky mountain elk balls? :D
or, the different but very apropos wild boar bacon :P mmmmmmmmm

Only time will tell kiddee's 8)
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Re: Food at BM?

Postby Sail Man » Mon Jul 25, 2011 9:39 am

junglesmacks wrote:
Sail Man wrote:If your car camping (tent, etc) avoid breads and buns in plastic bags as they go bad quickly (condensation issues) and stick with canned breads, for exp: http://www.amazon.com/Brown-Bread-Raisins-16-Ounce-Cans/dp/B001EO5Y8E

Other opinions probably abound but this has been my experience.


Bagels, though, do extremely well. Mine lasted the whole week without a problem.



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Re: Food at BM?

Postby CapSmashy » Mon Jul 25, 2011 11:21 am

Sail Man wrote:
CapSmashy wrote:I use the wireless thermometers and ziploc bag the sending unit and tape to the inside upper lid of the cooler and use the receiver to monitor my coolers temp. Many people use dry ice, I freeze 1 gallon bottles of water at home and they help to keep the cooler heh heh heh, cooler :mrgreen: and even driving from Michigan will last most of the burn. I also use my food saver to seal all of my meats.


Vacuum sealed, frozen and packed in dry ice for the trip out. Once on the playa, we fire up the gennie and plug in the freezer.

And speaking of meats, I am anxiously awaiting what will be the meat of choice for the Meat and Greet :wink: as my concierge travels to my local exotic meat emporium in search of ???

ground bear for yogi bear balls with boo boo sauce? :D
the larger but equally as tasty rocky mountain elk balls? :D
or, the different but very apropos wild boar bacon :P mmmmmmmmm

Only time will tell kiddee's 8)


Hmmmmm.....
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Re: Food at BM?

Postby Sail Man » Mon Jul 25, 2011 11:22 am

And we have a winner folks!

Elk Balls and Wild Boar Bacon 8)
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Re: Food at BM?

Postby The CO » Mon Jul 25, 2011 11:58 am

unjonharley wrote:Let us not forget the great Peanut Butter sandwich.. Playa time slips away and you need to eat.


Amen!


Anyone that's not familiar with a "dry cooler" should become so.
Find a wire rack (like a baking cooling rack) that fits in a cooler & stands 3-6 inches tall.
Place in said cooler.
Put a layer of visqueen over the rack.
A small amount of ice (1-2 lbs) in the bottom.
Your veggies, fruit & tortillas above the plastic.

Keeps veggies delightfully fresh throughout the week.

OregonRed & I use a 3 cooler setup. Dry cooler, beginning of the week & end of the week. End of the week gets dry ice & is not even opened until Wed. We manage to eat quite well.
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Re: Food at BM?

Postby Lassen Forge » Mon Jul 25, 2011 12:00 pm

+100, Comrade... this is STELLAR idea, and we will be sure to steal good Amerikan technology, so we can to claim Russia did to think of first!!
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Re: Food at BM?

Postby TinkerMom » Mon Jul 25, 2011 7:11 pm

I've always made indian flat bread. It's fresh when you want it. You can put the ingredients in a ziplock, when ready to use, add liquid, kneed, press, fry.
You can make pizza, wrap it around any kinds of meats (ie. hot dogs, burgers) Have tacos, serve with stews. Or have honey and sugar on it
for desert. Simple and quick.
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Re: Food at BM?

Postby much2naughty2 » Mon Jul 25, 2011 7:34 pm

I pre cooked 5 pounds of bacon. Never goes bad, eat it 3 meals a day :D
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Re: Food at BM?

Postby Rabbette » Tue Jul 26, 2011 5:47 am

much2naughty2 wrote:I pre cooked 5 pounds of bacon. Never goes bad, eat it 3 meals a day :D


Do you put your bacon in the fridge/cooler after you pre-cook your bacon?
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Re: Food at BM?

Postby Igneouss » Tue Jul 26, 2011 6:03 am

Lets all sing the spam song!
spam spam spam spam...

Always wanted to try this but haven't:
I suspect you could follow your nose to meals most any time. Some good manners and a polite appraoch and many camps will share. Certainly wouldn't work every time but I bet it would work more than often enough. Then fill in with the camps that provide food as part of their theme. I am aware of several theme camps that offer full scale meals. At least 2 have sit down service with wait staff and live music.

Middle of the night you can usually find grilled cheese out by the fence.

Sunrise cafe....

You get the point

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